The team of swimmers consisted of James McClenn, Shay Race, Moritz Hoogers, Max Hoogers and Harvey Karavis. Many of these lads had swum in both ESSA regionals and nationals before, however there was just one, but major difference which was that they were now competing in the senior age group. Shay, James and Moritz had all competed in the inter age group and earned 4th in both relays at national level the previous year but have never competed with the “men”.
First up was ESSA regionals which would hopefully qualify the boys for nationals which would be held in the Olympic park in London. Expectations were high as the boys truly believed they could take on anybody on the day. And they didn’t disappoint with a performance well over expectations. Even without Harvey in the first round they still managed to clinch 1st place in the individual medley relay. They also managed to earn themselves a silver in the freestyle relay, just getting out touched for first by a few tenths of a second. Never the less, the spot in the national finals in London was taken.
Going up to London brought out a good team spirit between the boys. When arriving the atmosphere around poolside was rather relaxed. Just a few hours more and the boys would be racing.
First race was the 4 x 50m individual medley relay with Moritz starting it off. The heats showed a strong performance from all the schools attending including Windsor Boys’. A place in the final was up for grabs and it was taken. First race first final. The first final was electric with the boys producing a solid performance to touch in 9th place. Next up was the 4 x 50m freestyle relay which was supposedly the boys’ weaker event. Heats went by in a flash with the boys qualifying in an even higher position than the individual medley. As the final approached the boys knew what to do. Heads down arms spinning and another good performance. Improving on their time from the heats they finished 6th in the final.
Overall it had been a great experience with a great atmosphere. They had far exceeded expectations and showed what five determined young men can do when they put their minds to it. Three members of the relay still have a few years left swimming in the ESSA championships and if they carry on they will definitely be a strong force in the championships, not just in the region but in the nation. It had been a great couple of days and well worth it. One thing is for sure, next year they will only come back stronger and faster.
Mr T Skevington